Friday, December 17, 2010
c1915 Rich Hall Library, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
When Wesleyan opened in 1831, the library was housed in one of the public rooms in the Lyceum, now known as South College. Soon after the Civil War the institution began its expansion to the south with a separate library building. Funding was guaranteed by Isaac Rich, a Boston fish merchant and longtime trustee, provided that alumni raised an endowment for the purchase of books.
President Joseph Cummings himself designed a light and airy new library, in the then popular alcove style, and superintended its construction. Dedicated in 1868, Rich Hall -- described in the student newspaper as an "elegant edifice" and "noble structure" -- cost $40,000, contained 18,000 volumes, and served a student body of 148. The faculty, including President Cummings, numbered seven. More information, click here.